The game of hockey as we know it has been played for over two hundred years, and although the rules and complexion of the game have changed over all that time, it is still a game which is played on ice and which involves shooting an object into a net. Hockey became so popular in the northern regions of North America, that it ultimately led to the creation of the National Hockey League in 1917, and when the NHL came into being, it brought six original teams into the fold. The Boston Bruins were one of those six teams, and the club has been playing professional hockey since 1924, and in that time, not only has the team won a total of six Stanley Cup championships, but it has also produced several of the best players to ever play in the league: Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and many others.
Like every other hockey team, the Bruins now gather in a different city each year to participate in the draft, an event in which teams get to select young and talented players who they hope will make them more competitive in the future. The Bruins have had their fair share of good draft picks, as they have selected great players like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Joe Thornton, and Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque; but like most teams, the majority of their draft picks do not turn into quality NHL players. There are instances down the line, when a team deeply regrets drafting a certain player, and since the Bruins have been around for so long, they have made quite a few bad drafting choices that have left them both embarrassed and regretful, and this article's job is to identify the 15 draft mistakes that the Bruins are still probably embarrassed about.
15 Dmitri Kvartalnov
We start this list off with a forward whom the Boston Bruins believed was going to be a big help for them offensively, but as fate would have it, Dmitri Kvartalnov was not meant to play in the NHL for long. The Bruins drafted this Russian winger 16th overall back in 1992, and the reason for him being ranked so high was because that same year, he lit up the International Hockey League with 60 goals and 118 points, which earned him that league's MVP award. Kvartalnov made his debut the very next season, and had a great start to his career by finishing the year with 30 goals and 72 points, but the following season, his production seemingly fell off a cliff, which is why he spent the majority of that season in the minors. Ultimately, his second NHL season turned out to be his last, and he would go on to spend the final 14 years of his career playing over in Europe.
14 Johnathan Aitken
Canada has produced some of the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL, and when the Bruins decided to use their 8th pick in 1996 to draft Edmonton native, Johnathan Aitken, they hoped that they were getting another star on the blue line. In the junior hockey circuit, Aitken proved to be a very serviceable defenseman while playing against other Western Hockey League teams, but when he began playing for Boston's minor league team, it became apparent that he could not handle the bigger leagues.
After playing within the organization for two years, Boston released Aitken with just three games on the main roster under his belt. This was not the end of his NHL career though, as he returned from a European stint to play with Chicago for 1 year, where he had just one assist in 41 games. In retrospect, the Bruins would have been better off had they drafted someone like Dainius Zubris, or Daniel Briere, who were both taken later in that same draft.
13 Nevin Markwart
NHL teams still like to have players on their rosters who are big and who can play a more physical and gritty style, but that type of player is just not in high demand anymore because of how fast the game has become. In the '80s though, those players were in far greater demand, which is why the Bruins went ahead and drafted forward Nevin Markwart 21st overall in 1983. Markwart went on to make his NHL debut later that same year after putting up 13 goals and 31 points in the minors, and following that debut, he spent eight more years with Boston, splitting time between the main roster and the minors due to the mounting injuries he sustained because of his style of play. In total, he played in 299 games for Boston, where he scored 39 goals and 106 points, and if it were not for all those injuries, he likely would have been a much more useful player for the Bruins.
12 Andy Hilbert
In the year 2000, the Bruins used their 37th pick in the second round to draft Michigan native Andy Hilbert, a winger who would ultimately go on to play just 32 games for the franchise. In those 32 games, Hilbert scored a combined two goals and five points, which is absolutely dismal, and why most of his time with the team was spent with their minor league affiliate. In 2005, Boston had enough of Hilbert and traded him to the Blackhawks, where he spent a handful of games before being traded to Pittsburgh. Hilbert would then sign contracts with the New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild before officially retiring in 2010. In all, Hilbert played 307 NHL games, and ended up scoring a combined 42 goals and 104 points.
11 Dave Pasin
In the three years leading up to the 1984 draft, Dave Pasin was making a name for himself in the Western Hockey League where he scored a combined 172 goals over the course of 198 games. It was because of that level of scoring that the Bruins selected Pasin 19th overall in 1984, and he went on to debut with the team the following season as a 19-year-old, and in his rookie season, he put up 18 goals and 37 points in 71 games, numbers which would have been considered much better for the rookie if he had not scored so much in junior. Pasin's rookie season turned out to be the only season he would ever play with the Bruins, as he spent the rest of his time with the organization in the minors, and after being traded to Los Angeles in 1988 where he played in just five games, he would go on to play the rest of his career in Europe.
10 Jordan Caron
As you would have guessed by now, this list is going to feature a lot of forwards who turned out to be wasted draft picks, and that trend is going to continue with right winger, Jordan Caron, who they drafted deep in the first round in 2009. While in the QMJHL, Caron proved to be someone who could score between 20 and 30 goals, but when he joined Boston's minor league team, his offensive output began to dry up. Overall, Caron spent parts of 5 seasons with Boston, where he scored 12 goals and 28 points in a combined 134 games, and ended up getting traded to Colorado in 2015 where he played in just 12 games; he then singed a 1-year deal with St. Louis in 2015, where he only played in 4 games, and has not played in an NHL game since. Kyle Palmieri has been in the league for 7 seasons now, and currently plays for the New Jersey Devils, and was drafted right after Caron, and it is fair to say that Boston should have taken him instead.
9 Matt Lashoff
Here we have Matt Lashoff, who is another defenseman that the Bruins had some high hopes for, but as it turns out, became a wasted first-round pick. Lashoff was able to put up good numbers while in junior, with his best season coming in the year he was drafted, when he scored seven goals and 47 points in 56 games, but from the moment he joined the Bruins' minor league team, it became obvious that the junior level was the only level he could really produce in.
After playing in a combined 34 games for the Bruins, in which he scored just one goal and eight points, he was traded to Tampa Bay where he did not fair much better, which is why they traded him to Toronto the following year, where he only played in 12 games. Lashoff has not played in the NHL since 2011, and the Bruins must be very disappointed in drafting him because players like Andrew Cogliano, Matt Niskanen, and T.J. Oshie were all drafted later that same round.
8 Lars Jonsson
Sweden has produced a lot of very good and talented NHL players, including defensemen, and in the 2000 draft, the Bruins expected that they were going to get one of these talented players when they selected Lars Jonsson 7th overall. Although he was drafted in 2000, Jonsson continued to play in the Swedish Elite League until 2006, and by that time, he and Boston had to agree on a contract, which the two sides were never able to do, which is why he ended up signing with Philadelphia while the Bruins got stuck with a compensatory draft pick. As it turns out, Jonsson was a complete waste of both Philadelphia and Boston's time, because he ultimately played in just eight NHL games and scored just two assists; and to think that Boston could have drafted a defenseman like Brooks Orpik instead.
7 Shayne Stevenson
Like many of the other forwards on this list, Ontario native, Shayne Stevenson performed very well while playing in junior, and it was because he showed such an ability to rack up points that Boston decided to use their 17th overall pick on him in the 1989 draft. Following the draft, he had his best minor-league season, with 28 goals and 90 points. but when he made his debut with the team in 1990, he proved that the Bruins utterly wasted a 1st round pick on him. Stevenson played in a combined 19 games with Boston, where he scored a total of 0 goals and just 1 assist, and after playing in just 5 games with Tampa Bay in 1992, he never played in another NHL game again. What makes this pick so bad, is that Boston could have instead used that pick to draft either Adam Foote or Olaf Kolzig, both of whom went on to have much longer and more impactful careers.
6 Robert Cimetta
The Bruins decided to select Toronto native Robert Cimetta in the middle of the 1st round of the 1988 draft, and based on the 34 goals and 76 points he scored in the Ontario Hockey League going into the draft, it looked like a great pick for Boston. The following year, he led his junior team with 55 goals and 102 points, which is why the Bruins called him up later that season, but from the very start, it appeared as though Cimette did not have what it took to score at the NHL level.
In his rookie season with Boston he scored just eight goals and 17 points, which turned out to be career highs as he never played another game for the team following that season. After being traded to Toronto in 1990, he played in nearly 50 games where he scored six goals and 13 points, and that poor production is why he never played in another NHL game after 1993. In hindsight, Boston probably would have been better off taking former enforcer, Tie Domi, who was drafted shortly after Cimetta, and who ended up playing in more than 1,000 games and scoring nearly 200 goals.
5 Hannu Toivonen
No team is going to win the Stanley Cup if they do not have a good enough goalie minding the net, which is why teams attempt to add at least one new goalkeeper to their organization each year through the draft. In 2002, the Bruins drafted Finnish goalie Hannu Toivonen, and at the time, they really thought that they had just drafted someone who was going to serve as their number one goalie for many years.
Toivonen made his debut in the 2005-06 season, and put up good numbers in just 20 games as a backup, but in the following season, he proved that he could not handle the pressure of being a starter. In 2006-07, Toivonen was called up to replace an injured Tim Thomas, and in the 18 games he played in, he earned a 3-9-1 record with a goals against average of 4.23 along with a .875 save percentage, which in today's NHL are terrible numbers. Toivonen has not played in the NHL since 2007, and the Bruins are likely still kicking themselves for drafting him seeing as that draft included players like Duncan Keith, Dennis Wideman and Frans Nielson who were all taken in later rounds.
4 Evgeni Ryabchikov
It is true that Hannu Toivonen turned out to be a huge disappointment in goal, but he was nothing compared to Russian goalie Evgeni Ryabchkov, who never even played in a single NHL game. Ryabchkov was taken 21st overall in 1994, and was actually the 3rd goalie selected in that round, and he decided to continue playing in Russia to better develop his skills for the North American game. That decision turned out to be a waste of time though, as he more than underperformed while in the minors, with his best numbers coming in 1996-97 where in 14 games he posted a 6-3-1 record with a .886 save percentage and 3.84 goals against average, which are abysmal for an NHL goalie. The Bruins would have been better waiting for another goalie in the 1994 draft, because netminders like Jose Theodore, Evgeni Nabokov, and Marty Turco were all available in that same draft.
3 Gord Kluzak
As proven by the Edmonton Oilers, not every player chosen 1st overall goes on to become a game-changing player, and the Bruins came to understand this in 1982 when they used their 1st overall pick to draft defenseman Gord Kluzak. Leading up to the draft, Kluzak was considered to be a superstar on the blue line, but a few teams were wary about him because of a bad knee injury he suffered while playing in junior. The Bruins still believed that he had too much potential, so they took him first anyway, and he ultimately went on to play with the team for 9 seasons where he scored 25 goals and 123 points in 299 games.
Injuries continued to be a big problem for Klusak, as he had to miss two full seasons, and in his final three NHL seasons, injuries caused him to play in just 13 games combined. What really makes Klusak a bad pick for Boston is the fact that Phil Housely and Scott Stevens, both Hall of Fame defensemen, were taken within the top 6 in the 1982 draft.
2 Martin Samuelsson
With this entry we return to the 2000 draft, except this time we have a player by the name of Martin Samuelsson, who Boston selected deep in the first round with the 27th overall pick. He may have been drafted in 2000, but he did not come over to North America until 2002. When he did, he made an immediate splash with the Bruins' minor league team, where he scored 24 goals and 39 points in 64 games, which is why he was called up to the main roster that same year.
Unfortunately, Samuelsson could not replicate his minor-league performance, and played so bad that he ended up playing in only 14 NHL games where he recorded just a single assist. Seeing as Samuelsson has not even played in North America since 2005, it is fair to say that the Bruins wasted that first round pick, especially since good players like Justin Williams and Niklas Kronwall were drafted right after him.
1 Zach Hamill
This list has already featured several forwards who the Boston Bruins likely regret ever drafting, but the pick that they should be most embarrassed about is Zach Hamill, who they took 8th overall in 2007. In the year in which he was drafted, Hamill showed in junior that he had a lot of offensive potential, as he scored 32 goals and 93 points in 69 games, but all that scoring talent seemed to completely evaporate once he officially joined the organization the following year. As it turns out, Hamill went on to play a combined 17 games with the Bruins, where he scored a grand total of zero goals and four assists, and it is because of his poor play that he has not played in the NHL for over 5 years now. This pick really stings, because Boston could have drafted Logan Couture instead, who was taken 9th overall, or other better players like Max Pacioretty, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Ryan McDonagh who were all taken that same round and have gone on to have productive careers.